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Volcanic activity is a geological process that has massive physical, economic, and social impacts on environment and humanity. Volcanic activities have led to numerous impacts on the environment including the formation of great lakes in California. Usually, volcanic activity happens when steam, dust, or molten rock erupt from beneath the earth’s surface through fissures and spread on the surface of the earth as lava. In most cases, volcanic activity forms mountains and hills, and at times it creates caldera and crater lakes. For instance, Long Valley caldera and Medicine Lake Volcano are examples of landforms that emanate from the volcanic activity in California. To elucidate the influence of a geological process on the formation of great lakes, this paper examines volcanic activity in California.
Volcanic activity in California is dominant along the Long Valley region where it has been active for millions of years. The formation of the Long Valley caldera by an enormous volcanic activity formed the basis of formation of the great lakes such as Mammoth Lakes and Mono lakes along the Long Valley region. The formation of lakes by volcanic activity originates from the sequence of geological processes of the volcanic eruption. Tizzani et al. note that significant organic activities such as that of the Bishop Tuff created the Long Valley region, which is a region that is prone to volcanic activities in California (65). Owing to the weakness of the tectonic plates, the Long Valley region has experienced series of volcanic activities indicating that it has active geological processes of volcanism.
Caldera and craters
Series of volcanic activities over time weakens the earth’s surface and create magma chambers beneath the earth’s surface. The collapse of the earth’s surface due emptying of magma chambers results in the formation of a great depression called caldera. According to Tizzani et al., the enormous eruption of the Bishop Tuff occurred approximately 760 centuries ago in California and created the Long Valley caldera (64). The accumulation of water on the caldera has led to the formation of Mammoth Lakes, which are major water bodies in California. Moreover, the Bishop Tuff eruption created other craters such as Mono craters and Inyo craters.
Volcanic activities in California have to the formation of mammoth lakes, Mono craters, and Inyo craters, which have become helpful resources to the society. Currently, California is leading in the production of geothermal power in the United States for it contributes over 30% of the power consumed (Mishra, Glassley, and Yeh 3). People living around the Long Valley have enough power generated from geysers in Mammoth Lake, Mono craters, and Inyo craters. However, volcanic activities have negative impacts on the society for they increase vulnerability to earthquakes. Currently, earthquakes are common in the Long Valley region owing to the active volcanic activities.
In conclusion, examination of the volcanic activities in California shows that they have contributed significantly to the formation of lakes. The occurrence of the massive volcanic eruption of the Bishop Tuff created the Long Valley caldera and subsequently craters distributed across the valley. The notable craters are Mammoth Lakes, Mono craters, and Inyo craters, which are valuable natural resources. These craters also have geysers that generate geothermal energy, and thus, provide a considerable amount of power to people in California and other states in the United States.
Tizzani, Pietro, Maurizio Battaglia, Giovanni Zani, Simone Atzori, Paolo Berardino, and Riccardo Lanari. “Uplift and magma intrusion at Long Valley caldera from InSAR and gravity measurements.” Geology, vol. 37, no. 1, 2009, pp. 63-66.
Mishra, Gouri, William Glassley, and Sonia Yeh. “Realizing the geothermal electricity potential: Water use and consequences.” Environmental Research letters, vol. 6, no. 1, 2011, pp. 1-8.